My pal Aries Wench and I met up at 1:00 PM today (later being a good idea if you want to skirt the business lunch crowd, as this is not a large venue) and were immediately charmed by the stunning and bona fide n'awlins vibe. It's a beautiful eatery which will immediately wipe your mind clean of the fact that the dubiously thought-out Wimauma ever existed in this space.
Service was pleasant and efficient over the course of our wine luncheon. I think it's safe to report that both gurlz were shocked by the Paul Bunyan-esque portion sizes, although we did our best to snort a respectable percentage of them. My galpal's 1/2 Muffuletta (layers of marinated olive salad with mortadella, ham, salami, mozzarella and provolone) was about the size of an economy car's hubcap. I'm not sure Adam Richman could've even finished it. While we both felt that the protein-laden sandwich filling was a veryfinething, we agreed that there was a little too much bread going on here. Scoop and fill it, press it, or find another way to mitigate that massive loaf so we don't have to unhinge our jaws to wrap our lips around this savory masterpiece. Oh, and the little skillet side of Smoked Mac & Cheese was off the chain...thick, gooey and topped with molten, golden-brown cheesy goodness.
My Shrimp and Oyster Plate deeply satisfied this native Tennessean (and that says a lot). The fresh shellfish were lightly fried to a golden brown and piled high, accented with crisp, spicy hand-cut fries and a zippy coleslaw which could've been a tad colder and crunchier (sorry, I'm picky about slaw). I was catapulted into Deep-Fried Suthren Heaven.
The crowning glory of our lunch was what may be the best bread pudding in Tampa Bay. I'm typically a fan of dense and heavy, but I was born again in this feather-light and dreamily creamy concoction of French baguette cubes soaked in custard, re-baked, anointed with poppy seeds and toasted pecans, and crowned with a Buffalo Trace bourbon butterscotch sauce.
I can't wait to return for dinner...Roux is outstanding and probably hasn't even yet reached its full potential.
My blog entries contain the unmitigated, and sometimes unforgiving, dining truths and perceptions I experience as an ordinary restaurant patron. Every meal I post about has been fully paid for by one of the participating members of my personal dining party. I do not engage in the gratis blogger freebie dining events I'm constantly invited to attend and never will. If I ooze font-like love for a restaurant in my blog, it's because they totally earned it…not because they gave me free food or knew I was going to share the experience on the internet.